Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are the ones to watch in this patchy action-comedy 2 Guns.
In a first rate opener, Bobby (Denzel Washington) and Stig (Mark Wahlberg) engage in some witty banter and a bit of light flirtation with the ladies before torching a roadside diner.
It’s all part of an elaborate plan to rob a bank housing $4 million belonging to a Mexican drugs cartel. Undercover Drugs Enforcement Agent, Bobby, hopes this will provide enough evidence to put the boss away, but unbeknown to him Stig is undercover too.
When the duo hit on more cash than they anticipated and run into the unhinged and vengeful Earl - played by Bill Paxton on top form with a sinister southern drawl - they’re forced to work together for real.
It’s a grossly unrealistic plot that sees CIA versus DEA versus the US Navy versus Mexicans. It’s tedious that a plot this convoluted also manages to be devoid of thrills, ambling from one flimsy twist to another as 2 Guns drags on towards its conclusion.
Yet 2 Guns is not all bad. Enter the burgeoning bromance between the hot-headed Stig and the cool, independent Bobby that refreshes the movie just when it starts to feel dull. Washington and Wahlberg are at their best and the camaraderie fizzes and pops between the unlikely duo for an enormously entertaining and original spark in a movie that would otherwise be painfully lifeless.
It’s a shame that this quirky, comic angle isn’t carried through into the action, which tires with increasingly violent showdowns and Russian roulette threats. Aside from an enthusiastic car chase that sees the duo’s machismo go head-to-head, the action is repetitive and banal as director Baltasar Kormakur (director of last year’s Walberg starring, Contraband) pads out the space between the Wahlberg-Washington repartee.
While the script from first time movie writer Blake Masters turns many over-used cliches into rip-roaring gags, it lets others slip by lazily without comment. Stig might sport a denim jacket emblazoned with a giant shark on the back - reminiscent of Nicolas Winding Refn’s acclaimed crime drama Drive - but 2 Guns is much too light on this kind of satire.
Wahlberg and Washington save 2 Guns from a 2 star fate but lazy action, stunted thrills and a laid back approach to satire leave this action-comedy feeling distinctly average.
Running Time: 109 minutes